Self care is one of the most important things that a family can do to keep themselves well. It is something that they struggle with all the time. Families need to remember that they deserve to live their lives. Here are some simple and effective coping tips that we encourage families to consider.
The Four C’s
- You didn’t CAUSE the mental illness.
- You can’t CURE the mental illness.
- You can’t CONTROL the mental illness.
- You can COPE with the mental illness.
- Develop realistic expectations for your family member and yourself.
- Work towards accepting the illness and its challenging consequences.
Let go of the guilt
- Remember that no family is perfect.
- Whatever you did, or did not do; you did not cause your family member’s illness.
Get the facts
- Continue to educate yourself about your family member’s illness.
Don’t forget about your own health
- Eat right, exercise, and stay healthy.
- Find a new hobby for yourself and the person who is ill. Remember to laugh, take walks and nurture yourself.
Create a support network
- Join a support group. You’ll be amazed how great it is to make new friends who understand about what you are going through.
- Accept all the help and support you can get. Don’t be afraid to ask!
- Every problem is a solution waiting to happen. Ask a FAME worker or a trusted friend for help if you have run out of new ideas.
- Try thinking in terms of “brain” illness, instead of mental illness.
- This can be helpful in dealing with both external and internal stigma.
- If you feel that you are “going in circles”, take a break. Try to be creative if the old approach is no longer working.
- Stay optimistic.